May 16, 2014 Last Updated 2:52 pm

National Journal says comments will be closed to non-members

Closing comments to non-subscribers is increasing as editors battle uncivil posts and comment spam on their stories

The National Journal is the latest to say it has had it with uncivil comments on it stories online. So the DC publication will be limiting commenting to only members.

Nationaljournal-feature“For every smart argument, there’s a round of ad hominem attacks—not just fierce partisan feuding, but the worst kind of abusive, racist, and sexist name-calling imaginable,” editor-in-chief Tim Grieve wrote on the magazine’s website.

“The problem isn’t unique to National Journal; it crops up on almost every news site,” Grieve said.

“Some sites have responded by devoting substantial time and effort to monitoring and editing comments, but we’d rather put our resources into the journalism that brings readers to National Journal in the first place. So, today we’ll join the growing number of sites that are choosing to forgo public comments on most stories.”

Unfortunately, the position of the National Journal will likely get slammed by those media critics who have made an ideology out of their Internet beliefs – the web is open, period. No matter, they are naive and clearly unable to understand the growth of this problem.

In addition to uncivil discourse, there is also the issue of comment spam – a controllable, though still annoying problem.

Surprisingly, the magazine appears to have left comments open on their announcement – or at least it appears so.

“Does this change in comments policy mean that National Journal columnist Ron Fournier can continue his abject hackery and debasement of the profession of journalism unabated, without fear of criticism or pushback?” writes one reader.

But one writer, responding to another comment, was more thoughtful:

“Yes it’s comments like this that made you institute this policy. However, you may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I agree with those who have posted above that there are thoughtful comments on both sides and these should be kept. Perhaps you could keep all comments and when you get something out of line you could either warn that person once and ban that person if repeated or if it’s flagrant the first time just ban that person. Certainly the ads disguised as comments deserve to be banned by which I refer to all the comments on somebody’s friend or relative made all this money and click on this e-mail address. Also an occasional comment provides information not available in the original article and these comments would truly be missed,” the reader wrote.

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